`PASTORAL' DROWNED BY NOISE
EAST Germans and Hun
garians on Sunday took part in "elections" in which they were given no choice of candidates. They were asked to endorse a list drawn up by the Communist Party in each country.
The East Germans were "electing" a new Vo/kshermnier (Lower House) and 14 district parliaments; the Hungarians a new Parliament and local councils. The final majority for the official list in each country is expected to be 98 or 99 per cent.
Although, in Hungary, the "elections" were said to have gone "according to plan", it is now believed that both a pastoral letter allegedly written by Hungary's board of Catholic bishops, and Church "consent" for three excommunicated priests to run for parliament are actually the work of the Hungarian Communist regime itself.
According to Budapest Radio, the Pastoral Letter, reputedly signed by Archbishop Grosz and the other bishops, was read in all the churches on the Sunday preceding the "election".
However, judging by eye-witness accounts, the reading of the pastoral in the churches did not meet with approval. Archbishop Grosz was unable to finish reading the letter so loud grew the coughing and the shuffling of feet.
In some churches, Protestant as well as Catholic, attendance was
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